Choosing Ethical Seafood
Our seas, marine wildlife and habitats are significantly impacted by overfishing and poor aquaculture practices. As consumers, we need to be aware of these events and practices and do the best we can to reduce the impacts of overfishing and also the fishing methods that are damaging the ecosystem.
Choosing sustainable seafood can make a big difference. However, it is not always that simple. Claims such as “ocean caught”, “wild caught” and “caught at sea” distinguish the product from farmed fish, but they don’t necessarily guarantee that the fish comes from sustainable sources. Besides, making sustainable choices is also hampered by confusing labelling with regards to the place of origin such as “made in Australia from imported and local ingredients”. This makes it hard for the consumer to make informed choices.
However, there are some ways that can maximise our efforts in making the best sustainable seafood choices and they are:
To look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification logo on seafood packaging. The fish in MSC-certified products come from fisheries that meet international standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability.
Use the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Sustainable Seafood Guide (book, website, or app) to make smarter choices while shopping.
Avoid eating endangered, vulnerable and heavily-fished species, including flake, tuna, swordfish and dory. Instead, opt for species with healthier population numbers such as the Australian salmon, whiting, mullet and flathead.
Talk to your fishmonger! Ask which fish is in season, where and how the fish was caught or farmed. Letting the seller know that the consumer is interested in sustainability might have an impact on what fish they choose to stock in the future.